Apple Pro Display XDR: Grading on a curve

Our first impressions as the review process begins for Apple's 32-inch 6K display.

After waiting for what felt like forever for the Apple Pro Display XDR to arrive, it finally dropped out of the sky and on to my test bench -- and with it, a parade of colleagues. Some came simply to pet it, not caring if it was on or not. Some commented, "It's a lot thicker than I expected," which just made me laugh. Only one ignored the shiny, plopped himself in my chair, and essentially said, "Let's see some HDR footage."

That, in a nutshell, is part of the brilliance of Apple's marketing. The buzz it's generated among nonprofessionals is vastly disproportionate to the small number of people for whom this display makes real sense: A subset of editors on Mac-only pro video workflows doing 1,000-nit, high-dynamic-range color correction. Mac-based photo pros retouching on high-resolution, broad-tonal-range images (who don't care about Adobe RGB). Illustrators working on designs with complex details. And so on.

For them, the display's $5,000-plus price tag is likely worth it for the 1,600-nit peak brightness, 6K resolution and hardware calibration profiles for a handful of reference standards and pseudo standards, such as Apple's own P3-D50 color space for design and print, specifically targeted for Mac-only operation. (I won't reiterate the complete specs.)